Thursday, February 10, 2011

Weathering e-motions when Integrating Technology. Feb 2011 - Montevideo

There’s a lot going on regarding Technology Integration to educational settings. In my view, there’s still a participant in this whole story who’s not receiving the necessary attention which will provoke the changes we expect: Teachers. If we don’t pay attention to what teachers feel and go through, technology will fill in classrooms but we won’t be able to make the most of them and all the possibilities they can offer.
It is the teaching not the technology we need to focus on.

Even more, positive teacher attitudes towards computing are critical if computers are to be effectively integrated into classroom settings (1).

Technology integration is a complex phenomenon that involves understanding teacher’s motivations, perceptions and beliefs about learning and technology (2). It has all to do with pedagogy and little with technology in itself.  It has very little to do with teaching basic computer skills and software programs in a separate computer class. 
Efforts are being made by institutions to acquire machines for classrooms, the very same efforts are necessary in order to provide relevant teacher training so that they can develop the teaching strategies which can complement technology use within the curriculum (2).

What can technology integration bring into play?
Technology can stimulate (5):
Interest: technology is part of our student's lives outside school; it provides instances which mirror real life situations. Technology tools allow students to be intellectually challenged while providing a window into what the modern work looks like.
Confidence: our students feel confident handling computers, they were born with them. They are digital natives.
Fun: they associate technology with games, free time, and enjoyment. It provides a dynamic, rich and meaningful learning environment. Image, sound, videos, books, magazines, visit museums whatever topic you can think of, you will be able to find lots of references. 
Motivation: Technologies can be used as “engagers” and facilitators of thinking and knowledge construction (4), providing access to vast repositories of information and resources which increase curiosity and motivation to learn. It also provides instances for extending instruction, for fast finishers and re enforcing lessons.
Expression: technology allows students to express themselves in a variety of ways in authentic environments. Technology lends itself for flexible, purposeful activities which allow for creative responses too.
Concentration: research has shown that when using technology tools, students are more likely to stay engaged and on task.
Collaboration: it fosters collaboration, peer work and support among participants. Learning today is about participating and sharing, about building knowledge with others from far and near. Students acquire and refine their analysis and problem-solving skills as they work individually and in teams to find, process, and synthesize information they've found on line (3).
Satisfaction: Technology enables learners to acquire and use knowledge, skills and tools in contexts that reflect the way they will be used in real life. The myriad resources in the online world also provides each classroom with more interesting, diverse, and current learning materials. 
Excitement: Technology helps make teaching and learning more meaningful and fun. It enhances and enriches students' learning experiences

How can we start to bring about this change?
  • ·         Take risks.
  • ·         Give up control.
  • ·         Be flexible.
  • ·         Facilitate, Model, Mentor.
  • ·         Patience and persistence, with lots of teacher sharing.
Let's recap...

(1). Pre-service teachers’ attitudes towards computer use: A Singapore survey - Timothy Teo Nanyang Technological University. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology.
(2). Technology Integration as a Transforming Teaching Strategy. Jerry Woodbridge
(3)Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice. How One Science Teacher Integrates Laptops into Lessons.
(4) How Does Technology Facilitate Learning? By D. Jonassen|J. Howland|R.M. Marra|D. Crismond
(5) Teacher’s Blog: Integrating Technology In The Primary Classroom. A primary school teacher sharing resources, practical ideas and thoughts on blogging, global collaboration and technology integration.
The Edublogger:
Kid Blog:

Class Blog

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